Friday, November 28, 2008

Family Court: Presumptive Certification Struck Down

Nevada's "presumptive certification" law for juveniles has been struck down. See an AP article...

The Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a law that made juveniles admit guilt to charged crimes to avoid trial as an adult -- and let prosecutors use the admissions if juveniles wound up in adult court anyway.

The Supreme Court's ruling, overturning an earlier high court decision that had upheld the law, was sought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, the national Juvenile Law Center, public defenders of Washoe and Clark counties and other groups and activists. ...

While the decision does away with the "presumptive certification" law, justices said prosecutors who want to try juveniles as adults can still petition "in appropriate cases" under a separate discretionary certification provision that remains on the books.
Also discussed in a Las Vegas Review-Journal article: Law set to prosecute youths cut (11/27/08)

This law was essentially giving all discretion to prosecutors to decide which youth should be tried as adults in a broad category of felonies. Now, there should be more of a balance in the process.

I described juvenile certification in one of my newsletters: CERTIFICATION NIGHTMARE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New York Times: Age Verification

From the New York Times (Nov. 18)...

Child-safety activists charge that some of the age-verification firms want to help Internet companies tailor ads for children. They say these firms are substituting one exaggerated threat — the menace of online sex predators — with a far more pervasive danger from online marketers like junk food and toy companies that will rush to advertise to children if they are told revealing details about the users.

“It’s particularly upsetting,” said Nancy Willard, an expert on Internet safety who has raised concerns about age verification on her Web site over the last month. “Age verification companies are selling parents on the premise that they can protect the safety of children online, and then they are using this information for market profiling and targeted advertising.”
An example of how hysteria over well-publicized but statistically insignificant threats can lead to far worse damage overall.

Onion: "Pain-Inducing Advil"

From The Onion (Nov. 21)...

PHILADELPHIA—Wyeth Pharmaceuticals unveiled a new pain-causing line of Advil this week that will help millions of benumbed, hollow consumers to feel at least somewhat alive for up to four hours.

Onion: "Area Man Loves That Crazy Bitch"

From The Onion (Nov. 22)...

RENO, NV—Despite her continued efforts to drive him out of his goddamn mind and turn his every waking hour into some kind of living nightmare, Craig Shearer, 32, admitted Monday that he still loves that crazy bitch.
Yeah, I can relate.

L.A. Times: Dido

A profile of the singer Dido Armstrong appears in the Nov. 18 Los Angeles Times:

I consider her a two-hit wonder ("White Flag" and "Thank You"), and I'm not a fan of her other songs, but her style is interesting.

Blog Post: "What Do You Do With 8 Bedrooms, 9 Bathrooms and 19000 SF?"

A realtor in Las Vegas wrote a blog article using some of my photos (with permission):

The story is about the mansion of a newspaper tycoon in Las Vegas. After the man's death, the family gave the property to Clark County for use as a child welfare training facility. Shortly thereafter, I visited the property and wrote a report.

It is curious how people will create shrines to themselves if given the resources. The tycoon transported his entire childhood home to Las Vegas and set it beside his ugly "mansion." The guy's still dead, however, and his mansion is being demolished, proving that you can never really make yourself immortal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Entertainment Not Recession-Proof

Los Angeles Times, 10/29/08:

For decades, entertainment executives have boasted that Hollywood is "recession-proof." No matter how dire the economy, the argument goes, consumers will always be willing to spend on entertainment to escape. ...

This time, however, past may not be prologue. Unlike the rudimentary entertainment economy of 75 years ago, when the downtown Bijou was about the only diversion, consumers now have a near-limitless array of entertainment options to occupy their leisure time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Paul Simon, Songwriter

This short interview with Paul Simon appears in today's USA Today...

Also, some background anecdotes about some of his most famous songs...

He is my ideal songwriter, the sort I would like to be.

Notice that he doesn't seem to care whether he makes any money, at least at this point in his life. He just wants to write great songs!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Author Michael Crichton Dies

Los Angeles Times: Michael Crichton dies at 66; bestselling author of 'Jurassic Park' and other thrillers (11/6/08)

Crichton wrote the first "grown up" book I ever read, The Andromeda Strain. For a while, I wanted to be him. Now, I see that he got frozen in time and never really grew as an author. He produced efficient techno-thrillers but never grasped the human world.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Really Bad Review (Criss Angel in Las Vegas)

It can be refreshing at times to read a really bad review.

New Criss Angel show is unbelievably bad, sad, Las Vegas Review Journal, 11/3/08
Wooooooooow. Criss Angel's new Cirque du Soleil show is terrrrrrible.

I had heard firsthand from some people who had seen "Believe" that it was abysmal and maybe unfixable, creatively. So my expectations were rock-bottom low (although open-minded), when I saw it Friday on opening night. And yet, it was EVEN WORSE than how it was described to me.

How bad could it be? Oh my God! Let me see if I remember how to spell this: "D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

L.A. Times: "In this economy, even sex doesn't sell"

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 4, 2008
At Donna's Ranch, a brothel in Wells, Nev., most of the customers are long-haul truckers. High fuel and food prices have drained them of 'play money.' So the working girls sit and wait.
By Ashley Powers
Reporting from Wells, Nev. -- The women at Donna's Ranch are crowded around the kitchen table on a warm summer night, dining on stir fry, tugging at thigh-high dresses, griping about depleted bank accounts. At this northeastern Nevada bordello, which marks a gravel road's end, they woo grizzled truckers and weary travelers for a single reason: money.

Lately, the women don't go home with much. ... Continued